Text & Photos by Matt Wetzler.
When it was first announced that Austin would be coming to the Formula 1 calendar it sort of came out of nowhere. First run in 2012, the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas has swiftly become one of the drivers favorite tracks on the calendar testing their technical driving ability throughout, and providing more opportunities to overtake—or pass—other cars than most other races throughout the world. This also results in it being one of the more entertaining than a lot of other races because—much like the Texas weather on display for the 2018 USGP—if you don't like it, stick around and it'll change.
Just because the racing is naturally the focus of the weekend, it doesn't mean its the only thing going on. Each year the event promoters try to provide plenty of things to do while the main event isn't taking place such as autograph sessions that allow the suitably motivated to get up-close to their favorite drivers, race simulators that let you test your skills driving around Circuit of the Americas in a videogame format and compete against others, a pit stop challenge to see how close you can get to the 2-second pit stops the teams perform during the race, among many other activities. 2018 also featured live music from local musicians like Austin's Nakia throughout the day, and major performances from Bruno Mars and Britney Spears in the evening.
Free Practice 3
Saturday's FP3 provided plenty of action for the crowds that really began to show up with the rain holding off for the duration. Every team took advantage by having both of their cars on track for almost the entire time to make up for time lost to the rain on Friday.
Like most major sporting events there is a fair amount of pre-event pomp and circumstance. A pre-race drivers parade is a staple of race day, but the USGP taking place in Texas naturally includes a couple of signature Texas twists which include the University of Texas Longhorns marching band and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
All photos copyright Matthew Wetzler/Thewmatt Photography.